Singer-turned-actress Vanessa Hudgens was desperate to appear on American Idol - but was signed up by HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL before she got the chance to audition. The 18-year-old was too young to follow her reality TV talent dream in 2004, and was counting down the days until her 16th birthday - the minimum age contestants must be before appearing on the show. But when a role in the Disney teen movie franchise appeared, she abandoned her desire to appear in front of acid-tongued judge Simon Cowell. She says, "I was 15 at the time ... and you had to be 16 to audition. So I thought, 'One more year.' "Then, when I turned 16, High School Musical came along and I got to do it. So I thought I'd skip on American Idol."